Monument Cafe and Market in Georgetown
Georgetown, Texas seems so far away in my mind — and it’s only a 1/2 hour drive from our house. And because a total of an hour in the car seems like such a schlep now that I don’t live in the gridlocked east coast, it took me more than a year to visit the Monument Cafe since I’d added it to my list of restaurants to check out.
This spring, the PR firm that represents Monument Cafe invited me to come meet the owner and take a tour, so Adam and I invited our friends, and their parents who live in Georgetown, to join us.
The Cafe actually opened in 1995 and moved to a new location in 2008. I love the vintage look of the building, that according to the menu, “was designed to be reminiscent of the Texas roadside cafes of the 20′s to the 40′s.”
And while I’d heard there was a market on-site too, I was amazed by all the elements they have built at the site. The garden in front of the cafe is filled with herbs and vegetables.
Walking to the left of the restaurant’s front entrance, Rusty Winkstern, the owner, showed us the newly opened Garden at the Monument, a beer garden and music venue that opens daily at 5 p.m. serving beer, wine, burgers and fries, along with a side of live music from Thursday to Saturday nights.
And the music they offer is impressive — the weekend we visited, Erik Hokkanen had played the night before, and this weekend, Aunt Ruby’s Sweet Jazz Babies played. I’d like to go back and check it out once the weather cools down — maybe sometime in October.
Rusty then led us to the Monument Market that opened in March, and offers local and organic products everyday from 8 a.m. to 8 p.m. It’s a gorgeous open warehouse space with lots of natural light and tables filled with fresh produce.
Rusty pointed out his wife Lael’s okra, that was being sold at the market that day and told us that he was expecting a shipment of peaches from the hill country that afternoon.
There’s nothing more beautiful than a fresh, in-season tomato.
At one end is a butcher counter, with a chalkboard calendar of delivery days for different types of meat to help shoppers with meal planning.
Along with produce and organic meats, the market sells dairy products, eggs, beer, coffee, and other locally sourced organic products.
Rusty led us out to the gardens, which were starting to stop producing as this summer’s drought had begun, and to a window-lined wall to watch the chefs in action.
Inside we saw Mark Chapman, former Driskill pastry chef, who is taking over Monument’s bread and pastry production. While we were in the Market, they were sampling Chapman’s amazing coffee cake, and I’m looking forward to trying more of his wonderful desserts.
For weekend brunch we heard there’s often a wait to eat at the Cafe, and it seemed to be the place to go for local families, groups of friends, and retired couples who live in the area. Georgetown is a popular spot to retire. I enjoyed a fresh-squeezed strawberry lemonade as well as a plate of poached eggs, bacon, biscuits, and fruit.
The servings are large here, so think about sharing with others in your party, and save room for dessert! Everyone was stuffed by the end of our meal, but I couldn’t leave without ordering dessert. The daily specials were up on a chalk board and while I would have loved to have tried the strawberry fried pie, peach pie, and their monument chocolate pie but because I didn’t have buy-in from the rest of the group, we just ordered a slice of the chocolate pie to share.
Everyone, even the littlest in our group, had a bite of this delicious signature dish.
This visit to the Monument Cafe “compound” really whet my appetite for a future visit to Georgetown. My friend’s mom who lives in Georgetown recommended a nice dinner at Wild Fire in downtown historic Georgetown, followed by a show at the Palace Theatre. And my friend loved lunch at Laurie’s, where the broccoli salad is supposed to be delicious. Georgetown seems like the perfect place to stay at a B & B, and according to the tourism website, there are a handful in town. Does anyone have recommendations?
Note: Thank you to Rusty Winkstern, co-owner of Monument, for taking the time to give us a tour and answer all of our many questions during a busy brunch service. He was very genuine and welcoming with my group, and insisted on covering the bill for all six adults and one child — something I fought hard against, but Rusty was even more determined to be our host. And while he knew I was a food blogger, it didn’t feel like he was trying to buy a good review — although he got one anyway. Regardless, I’m looking forward to coming back soon to check out the beer garden on our own dime!Tags: brunch, diner, farmer's market, georgetown, monument cafe, monument market